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    Associated Press: Argentina forces dirty war orphans to provide DNA

    The Associated Press reports:

    Valuing truth over the right to privacy, Argentina’s Congress has authorized the forced extraction of DNA from people who may have been born to political prisoners slain a quarter-century ago – even when they don’t want to know their birth parents.

    Human rights activists hope the new law will help find about 400 people stolen as babies, many from women who were kidnapped and gave birth inside clandestine torture centers during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. Thousands of leftists disappeared in what became known as the “dirty war” against political dissent.

    Others see the new law as unacceptable government intrusion, legalizing the violation of a person’s very identity. And as written, it could have much broader implications, enabling DNA to be sought from anyone whenever a judge determines the evidence to be “absolutely necessary.” […]

    The new law legalizes the extraction of “minimal amounts of blood, saliva, skin, hair or other biological samples” to determine identity. If a person refuses to provide a sample, a judge can issue a warrant for genetic material from a hairbrush, toothbrush, clothing or other objects.

    “It’s an absolute invasion of the right to biological privacy,” constitutional lawyer Gregorio Badeni told The Associated Press. “No one has the right to know what I have inside my body. That belongs only to me. I can give it up voluntarily, but no one can obligate me to deliver it.” […]

    The Argentine law may be unprecedented in requiring tests of people who aren’t suspected of crimes, said Marcy Darnovsky, associate executive director for the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley, Calif.

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